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I’m sure that people have watched Darren Stevens joyfully for many years; he’s an evergreen hero of the county scene who seems to be getting better and better with age. Add me to that list – he bowled non-stop up to lunch today, and looked like taking a wicket with every ball.

The hat gone,
The jumper gone,
A now familiar sight.
Ambling towards the pavilion Stevens,
His head turns as he catches the ball,
He knows this place.
He knows this moment.

He turns, Stevens.
Slowly at first, then quicker.
As if working from muscle memory,
A scene played out 20,000 times.
He knows this place.
He knows this moment.

Quicker still.
The number on his back ripples gently,
He approaches the stumps,
At the nineteenth step he releases,
He knows this place.
He knows this moment.

The ball thuds into Finch’s pads,
Stevens knows. Stevens roars.
We all know this moment,
Finch is out.
For Finch the pavilion,
For Stevens the nineteen steps.

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